ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the government had allowed “low-risk” industries to reopen in view of the difficulties faced by the lower-income people amid the lockdown imposed to flatten the coronavirus curve but it was necessary that standard operating procedures (SOPs) were followed when they resumed their operations.
The premier also ordered keeping a strict vigil on the demand and supply of wheat and other commodities to avert any shortage during the holy month of Ramazan.
“Everybody should realise their responsibility and ensure social distancing,” the premier said while presiding over a meeting held to review the coronavirus situation.
The prime minister ordered that an awareness campaign should be launched so that citizens would take the required precautionary measures against the disease. “People should wear facemasks and take other steps to stop the virus from spreading,” he added.
PM Imran also paid tribute to doctors, paramedics and others affiliated with the healthcare sector for their frontline role in the war against Covid-19.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar briefed the premier about the meeting of the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19 held earlier in the day.
State Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza and PM’s focal person on Covid-19 Dr Faisal Sultan informed the premier about the tracing, testing and quarantine measures.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal told the prime minister that the third batch of protective equipment for doctors and paramedics would be dispatched to the provinces on Friday (today).
It was decided that quarantine centres like the 250-bed facility set up by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) in Rawalpindi would be established in other parts of the country as well.
The prime minister stressed the need for compiling of correct data and information on the coronavirus pandemic so that policies could be formulated on the basis of actual facts and figures.
He also ordered that an accurate data be maintained of those people who died of coronavirus or other reasons.
The participants of the meeting deliberated on a policy to stem the spread of coronavirus during Ramazan.
In another meeting, the prime minister directed the Punjab Industries Minister Mian Aslam to remain in constant contact with the business community and chambers to ensure that SOPs were followed at the industries which had been allowed to operate.
“The federal government has shared some SOPs with the provinces for the protection of the workers,” a statement issued by the PM’s Office quoted the premier as saying.
PM Imran said the government was committed to taking all possible measures to contain the virus but at the same time it wanted to minimise the economic impact of the crisis on the working class.
The provincial minister lauded the federal government’s decision of reopening the construction and some other industries and said the business community was grateful to the prime minister.
In a meeting with his Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, the prime minister called for effective awareness on the government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme to enhance its outreach and benefits to the maximum number of people.
The prime minister said the government was striving to provide maximum relief to the people particularly the vulnerable segment during the COVID-19 crisis.
Separately, the premier directed the national food security ministry to keep a strict vigil on the demand and supply of wheat and other food commodities to avert any shortage during Ramazan.
In a meeting with National Food Security Minister Syed Fakhar Imam, the prime minister said the vigilance was vital to help the government make timely decisions.
Steps to curb the smuggling of wheat and fight the swarms of locusts and proposals for utilisation of quality wheat seeds to achieve quality bumper crop next year were also discussed.
(With input from APP)